NC Soft was established in 1997, and is one of the biggest gaming companies in Korea. NC soft has become a remarkable game publisher and developer of Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. Its offices are located in Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and America. Their slogan is “Bring fun to everyone."

1. Lineage Series

Lineage is based on a feature-length comic which has the same title created by Ilsuk Shin. This game was released in 1997, and it is the most famous and successful MMO RPG game in Korea. More than 10 million people play this game. The player can choose several characters such as a Knight, Elf, and Lord. Because of its popularity, the developers have used strategies, such as trading real money for the in-game money called Adeda. This brings in more profit, which gives the developers an opportunity to improve the game even more.

2. Aion

Aion is (Aion: Tower of Eternity) an MMO that was developed by NC Soft in 2008. The distinguishing features are the flight system and customizing system of avatars. Through the homepage they introduced the flight system as: Soar on your own wings! Flight adds a new aspect to combat, quests, exploration, and harvesting. Wind streaming in high-level zones allows you to travel faster with unlimited flight time. As for the avatar customization, the game allows the player to be able to create avatars the way they want.

3. Blade and Soul

Blade and Soul is another MMO RPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game). However, this game is not European Fantasy, it is Asian Fantasy. The characters use martial arts to fight with monsters. Players can also choose unique races for playing in the game such as Gon, Jin, Kun, Lyn. This game also has an amazing customizing system, so players are able to shape their avatars the way they want. According to the homepage of Blade and Soul they introduce themselves as: “Blade & Soul® brings the world of Asian martial arts fantasy to life in this massively multiplayer online universe. Enter a lush world drawn from myth and legend, and bursting with action and intrigue!”(Blade & Soul)

Interview: Hyung Tae Kim – a Concept Artist

Q: When did you start drawing?

A: I started drawing from a very young age. When I saw my childhood picture diary, I was so surprised because it didn’t include amazing drawings, but I put a lot of time and effort into the diary anyway. In my primary school days, I started drawing a lot more seriously. At that time, I got Japanese animation and games unofficially. After I saw “Gundam” I tried to copy those robots. After watching Gundam and playing NES, I knew I wanted to work in the game media field. When I was in 6th grade, I knew my dream job was to be an illustrator.

Q: What is the one thing that attracts you to game directing?

A: Since I have worked as a game director, I feel the game is the most highly advanced entertainment media. Movie and music are passive. We consume only one way. Movies through the screen and music through the speaker. However, games have various genres such as online gaming and DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), and also has various forms of expression. For example, game developers can produce the game through music and sound, but without the screen. Games can also be created with the screen, but without sound. Moreover, people who play the game alone or with a group of people. I was attracted to this and thought I should put my creativity into games.

Q: In school, most of the instructors teach us not to exaggerate the figure, make the balance, and not make it cartoony. What are your thoughts on this as a concept artist?

A: There are a lot of differences between the drawing style that I know and the drawing style that I do not know. I still study the human figure, and I’m always concerned about those limitations. Basically, you have to understand the human figure first before you can exaggerate or emphasize it. This is the easiest way. You do not have to understand the human figure perfectly, however, you should understand basic proportion. It seems exemplary, but there is no shortcut.

Q: What is your daily schedule?

A: Usually, I go to work by 10 am. In the morning I have a meeting to discuss the direction of a game, and in the afternoon, designers create art pieces individually for the project. I supervise them and we talk to each other about the concepts.

Q: There are many students who work in the game field. For getting a job in this field, do the students have to go to college specifically for art?

A: If you take your time studying and work steadily, you will find out what you really want to do. It will take a really long time because you need to understand art, contents we consume, and the trends of our world. However, you do not have to go to college in order to get this job. But employers prefer the person who graduated from university or college, so it is still your best bet to attend higher education. Many employers judge the students based on their education. They believe that college students gain more knowledge of the art, compared to a person who did not go to college.

Q: Specifically, what should digital media majors study, computer or the art?

A: I want to say study the art with the computer. Many people think working with a computer and the art are different, but the computer is a useful tool for creating art. In short, you should study the art first. After you understand the basics of art, you have to develop your own style of art. You will not create great art if you do not understand the basics and understand only the computer tools.

Computer graphics, game graphics, game art, 3D seems to be separate from fine art, but their origins are in fine art. If you understand the basics, such as the understanding of light, sketching of forms, then you are able to be skillful in all the art fields.

Working at NC Soft

NC Soft has various studios around the world such as North America, Europe, South America, and Australia and New Zealand. The North America studio headquarters are located in Seattle.

According to NC Soft's homepage:

“The Seattle headquarters houses some of the industry's top publishing talent in a fast-paced, open-concept environment. Located in the heart of Seattle's downtown, key organizations within the Seattle headquarters include executive management, sales, marketing, public relations, web and creative services, as well as operations, finance, and human resources.”(NCSOFT West)

They also have a studio called Carbine Studios in Orange County, California. This studio focuses on creating high quality Massively Multiplayer Games. Nowadays, they hire many employees, including 3D cinematic artists, character artists, creative writers, and UX designers. 3D cinematic artists create characters and environments focused on marketing cinematic. They create high-resolution cinematic characters from low poly game characters, and they also require the skills of the ZBrush to digitally sculpt characters. Character artists work closely with 3D characters, and they create simple creature variants.

A common entry level position at NC Soft are for character artists. They must have experience in modeling and editing images with Photoshop. They are hired as contract workers for six month and afterwards they are given the opportunity to transition to a full-time job.

Trailer of Blade and Soul


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